By Vanessa L. Saunders, Founder & CEO, Global Property Systems
“Words and ideas can change the world,” as John Keating eloquently stated. This rings especially true in the realm of fair housing, a sector where Diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but essential practices.
Diversity encompasses a range of characteristics, including religion, race, cultural background, age, sex, mental or physical capabilities, gender identification, sexual orientation, educational level, and familial status. These differences extend to beliefs, values, traditions, ideas, and languages, painting a rich mosaic of the U.S. populace.
The U.S. Population and Its Impact on Housing
The U.S. population growth has seen a notable decline, especially between 2019 and 2020, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend impacts various aspects of the housing market, from demand to pricing.
Millennials and Homeownership
Millennials, divided into younger and older groups, represent a significant portion of home buyers. They are most likely to be first-time buyers, with 70% of younger millennials and 46% of older millennials falling into this category. These groups prioritize proximity to work and are significantly affected by student debt.
LGBTQ Home Buyers and Sellers
The LGBTQ community, representing about 4% of home buyers and sellers since 2015, is an important demographic in the housing market. With Millennials constituting a large portion of home buyers and shifting attitudes among Generation Z, the proportion of LGBTQ home buyers and sellers is expected to increase.
Single Female Home Buyers
Single female homebuyers, historically second only to married couples, currently make up 17% of the buying market. This demographic often prioritizes proximity to friends and family, outdoor space for pets, and access to health facilities. With a median household income of $65,000, many single female buyers make significant financial sacrifices to purchase homes.
A Caution Against Exclusive Group Listing
A critical aspect of fair housing is ensuring that misconceptions don’t guide our real estate decisions. A common yet unfounded belief is that only Realtors from a specific group or community can effectively sell homes within that group. This notion is not only incorrect but also potentially discriminatory.
Diversity and inclusion principles extend to the real estate industry as well. As homeowners, it’s important to recognize that professional qualifications, experience, and expertise are what truly matter in a Realtor, not their affiliation with a particular group. Limiting your home’s exposure to a wider market by choosing a realtor based solely on their group affiliation can potentially reduce your property’s visibility and attractiveness to a diverse range of potential buyers.
Remember, the goal is to sell your home effectively and at the best possible value. This objective is best achieved by working with realtors who demonstrate a broad understanding of the market, exhibit professional excellence, and commit to fair housing practices, irrespective of their background.
In embracing this approach, not only do you adhere to fair housing principles, but you also contribute to a more inclusive and equitable real estate market.